Created By: NoirGrimoir on May 29, 2011 Last Edited By: Merlock on February 25, 2012

Hidden Agenda Hero

An aknowledged good guy with mysterious plans and motivation.

Name Space:
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Trope
Under construction, Needs More Examples

Not quite a Wild Card, the Hidden Agenda Hero is almost certainly on the side of good. He regularly helps The Hero, expecting nothing in return, demonstrates definite good-guy behavior while avoiding actions which would denote a bad guy...and yet he never explicitly states what his motivation is for doing so, and there's evidence that he's up to something the Heroes don't know about.

Unlike the Aloof Ally who may also be a mysterious hero, the Hidden Agenda Hero is far from being aloof and instead regularly interacts with The Hero and his gang, either being a member of their group or readily accessible when The Hero needs help. When eventually asked why he or she his assisting them, he often covers it up with Blatant Lies or something believable but untrue, if he doesn't manage to squeeze out of answering altogether. Usually he expects, or asks, that you simply trust him. What he is really up to and why he hides it differs from character to character, but common reasons involve not wanting to get others involved in his problems, having sensitive plans which would be disrupted or in danger were the heroes to know about them, or for some reason simply not being at liberty to speak of it.

Compare Guile Hero. Contrast Mysterious Backer, which is a species of Big Good, whereas this trope is for someone of a rank/authority/power/ability closer to that of those s/he helps. Constrast Hidden Agenda Villain who besides being villainous, also tends to be even more mysterious than this character as well as a Big Bad. Rather the villainous analogue for this trope is closer to the Dragon with an Agenda.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Urahara kisuke from Bleach. There is almost never any doubt that he is on Ichigo's side, helps him constantly and is accepted by the Heroes as a valuable friend and ally, but at any given point in the show we almost never know what he's really up to.

Literature
  • I think Verin from The Wheel of Time is pretty much exactly this trope. Until Book 11, The Gathering Storm, Verin was always a suspicious character, with a number of indications that there was more to her than met the eye, but she always seemed to be working for the Light, and not for the Dark One. The true secret of her character is revealed in Book 11, and will not be repeated here in order to avoid spoiling those who have not yet read the series up to Book 11. Suffice it to say, The Reveal is quite a shocking one.
  • Denis Arilan in the Deryni works. As a member of the Camberian Council, he keeps them informed of events around the Haldane royal family. The Council wishes to exercise control over the Haldanes and the transmission of the Haldane powers. Arilan, with his thorough arcane training and a seat on the King's Council, is their inside man for things like the ritual Kelson organizes to trigger some of his uncle's powers in The King's Justice. Kelson and his courtiers resent the high-handedness the Council displays, and once they know of Arilan's position they don't entirely trust him. The other Councilors have reason to be wary of Arilan as well; he occasionally takes Kelson's side against them.

Live-Action TV

Web Comic
  • In Order Of The Stick, Hayley comes off as incredibly greedy and even seems to cultivates that image, while hiding the fact that she's saving her money to pay a ransom on her father. (Played With, though: while she does intend to use the money to free him, she always planned to just steal it back afterward.)

Western Animation
  • Shayera "Hawkgirl" Hol in Justice League. It is never exactly explained what a Thanagarian is doing on Earth and is quickly forgotten thanks to her contributions to the League's success. However, it is eventually revealed that she is an advance spy for the Thanagarian military.

VideoGames
  • Auron from Final Fantasy X is undeniably good yet undeniably mysterious throughout most of the game.

Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • May 29, 2011
    Aielyn
    I think Verin from The Wheel Of Time is pretty much exactly this trope. Until Book 11, The Gathering Storm, Verin was always a suspicious character, with a number of indications that there was more to her than met the eye, but she always seemed to be working for the Light, and not for the Dark One. The true secret of her character is revealed in Book 11, and will not be repeated here in order to avoid spoiling those who have not yet read the series up to Book 11. Suffice it to say, The Reveal is quite a shocking one.
  • August 3, 2011
    X2X
    Compare Guile Hero.
  • August 3, 2011
    benjamminsam
    Auron from Final Fantasy X is undeniably good yet undeniably mysterious throughout most of the game.
  • August 3, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Denis Arilan in the Deryni works. As a member of the Camberian Council, he keeps them informed of events around the Haldane royal family. The Council wishes to exercise control over the Haldanes and the transmission of the Haldane powers. Arilan, with his thorough arcane training and a seat on the King's Council, is their inside man for things like the ritual Kelson organizes to trigger some of his uncle's powers in The King's Justice. Kelson and his courtiers resent the high-handedness the Council displays, and once they know of Arilan's position they don't entirely trust him. The other Councilors have reason to be wary of Arilan as well; he occasionally takes Kelson's side against them.
  • August 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    On Buffy The Vampire Slayer Angel was like this at first, until he got outed as being a vampire.
  • January 12, 2012
    Koveras
    • Shayera "Hawkgirl" Hol in Justice League. It is never exactly explained what a Thanagarian is doing on Earth and is quickly forgotten thanks to her contributions to the League's success. However, it is eventually revealed that she is an advance spy for the Thanagarian military.
  • January 19, 2012
    benjamminsam
    Cait Sith from Final Fantasy VII fits the trope, and even continues on with the party after it's revealed he's controlled by Reeve, a high-ranking Shinra employee.

    (Is FFVII's plot spoiler-tag-worthy anymore?)
  • January 19, 2012
    Bisected8
    I think we might already have this; Mysterious Backer?
  • January 20, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    Not sure about that. Mysterious Backer seems to be a species of Big Good, whereas this seems to be someone of a rank/authority/power/ability closer to that of those s/he helps. Related tropes no doubt, but I sense a distinction here.
  • February 4, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    Bump.
  • February 8, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    One more hat...
  • February 16, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    That's five hats. Just Launch It Already.
  • February 25, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    @ NoirGrimoir You still want this, or is it Up For Grabs?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ayqkeifgg8mzagsi0bj6nsrs